Dual Certification for Teachers

With dual certification in Special Education and Literacy, you’ll become more marketable and increase your effectiveness in the classroom.

Introduction to Sage’s Literacy/Special Education Degree 

Ideal for students already certified in elementary or childhood education, our Literacy/Special Education degree will prepare you to work with students with reading difficulties and disabilities. It will also prepare you to work as a consultant teacher, with students with disabilities in a regular classroom environment.

This program, part of the Esteves School of Education, is accredited by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP).

Individuals without certification in Childhood Education may be interested in our Childhood/Literacy Education program or Childhood/Special Education program.


Program Distinctions

This education master’s program allows you to pursue New York State teaching certification in literacy and special education in less time than it would take to pursue the certifications individually.

You’ll be more marketable and prepared to teach every type of student in your classroom, from at-risk students struggling with reading and writing to students with behavioral issues and barriers to learning.


“Russell Sage College and the Esteves School of Education act as leaders in education not just in the Capital District, but in New York State.”

Peter Stapleton, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Education
Spotlights Pattern

Careers with Dual Certification in Special Education and Literacy

After you earn your master’s degree you must pass the Content Specialty Tests for New York State teacher certification in special education and literacy to be certified in both areas.

Graduates become special educators and literacy specialists, working with general education teachers and a range of students. You’ll be able to co-teach with general education teachers, be a consultant teacher who provides support services or teach in a self-contained capacity with a small number of special education students.

Learning Experience

You’ll participate in practical experiences while studying a theoretical research background. The program includes guest speakers from the Capital District — teachers, directors, principals and related service providers — so you can learn from the best.

You’ll learn to promote practices that emphasize evidence-based teaching, differentiated instruction, diversity and inclusion, teaching English language learners and teacher reflection. Courses draw on the new literacies lens to integrate technology into innovative and traditional learning activities.

Student Teaching

For the literacy component, you’ll complete a practicum of at least 25 hours teaching at-risk, diverse, urban learners online and face-to-face.


For the special education component, you’ll work with faculty to identify placements that will increase the breadth of your teaching experience. Most placements are 50-hours across a period of five weeks.

Application Requirements

  • official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended
  • one letter of recommendation
  • 1-2 page career goals essay
  • GRE is not require

Deadline: Rolling Admission
Start Date: Fall, Spring, Summer semester

Course Objectives

To develop Literacy Specialists and Special Educators who:

  • evaluate, diagnose, interpret and teach students with significant difficulties in reading, writing, management and other areas that present as barriers to learners’ success
  • are prepared to work closely with diverse families and other educators to provide targeted, excellent literacy instruction
  • provide ongoing professional development to other educators and parents
  • use data (including individual, classroom and school-wide data) to inform instructional decisions
  • are highly effective in collaborating with others

Next steps?

It’s time to take the next step. Choose yours below.

Have Questions?

Assistant Professor of Education